Coming Out As a Transgender Teenager: 13 Ways Parents Can Support & Love Their Trans Teen by Heather Holter

Teens Parenting Relationships
10 months ago

Coming Out As a Transgender Teenager: 13 Ways Parents Can Support & Love Their Trans Teen

One of my children recently came out to me as transgender. I have learned so much the past few months. It has been a joy learning and growing with this magical child. Here's what I have learned:

  • Your reaction when your child comes out as trans is going to stick with them forever, so if you don't know what to say, just say, "I love you, we will figure it out." 
  • Don't scream at or berate the child. This was a very hard step for them, to come out to you. Even if you don't agree with it or don't understand, keep those feelings under wraps for now.
  • Educate yourself about all things transgender. There are tons of parent resources. (See Amazon links below.)
  • Find support. The support can be either online or in person. If you can't find anything in your area start a support group yourself! Mama Bears, a group dedicated to supporting, educating and empowering moms of LGBTQ kids and the LGBTQ community, and, an organization uniting parents, families and allies with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, are great places to start.
  • Avoid dead-naming and misgendering. This is very damaging and hurtful. Respect new name and preferred pronouns.
  • Let the child lead their transition. Transition looks different for everyone. Some want hormone replacement therapy, some want surgery, some just want to change name pronouns, dress and hair/makeup. They will let you know what they want.
  • Ask about friends and relationships often to be sure everyone is being kind. If they are not you can be there for them. Talk about it.
  • Leave small gifts or notes to encourage them. This might be a compliment or a new clothing item or candy. Anything that will make them feel special.
  • Listen. If your child wants to explain anything about themselves or about transgender issues, listen. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Find a good doctor and therapist. Most trans kids can thrive with the right support.
  • Allow yourself to grieve. Don't feel guilty. This is a real loss.
  • Become an ally. Your support means everything.
  • Most importantly: LOVE unconditionally. This is hard for everyone, but it can work with enough love.

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Elisa Schmitz
Wow, Heather Holter , this is powerful. I am so glad you shared it with us. I think many more parents than we know are experiencing this with their kids and they are confused and don't know how to handle it. Thank you for sharing your experience. YES to listening, being an ally and loving unconditionally. My "adult" children continue to experience challenges and this advice really resonates. Thank you, and best of luck to your magical child and to you. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job as a mom!
Heather Holter
Thank you for allowing me to share it! These kids need so much support!
Great advice.

Here's a link to the Mama Bears Facebook group. It's a private Facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids with more than 8,000 moms of lgbtq kids and several special subgroups including one specifically for moms of trans kids.

Heather Holter
Thank you for posting the groups! I wasn't sure about being allowed to do that and didn't know how to ask permission so I didn't but these groups are great resources.
Heather Holter
30Seconds Mom could you put the links in the body of the post under the support group topic? That would be helpful! Also PFLAG is a good resource.
Donna John
Done! If you'd like to add anything else, just shoot me an email. Heather Holter
Mike Prochaska
Wow great advice... not ready to have teen
Ann Marie Patitucci
Thanks for sharing this, Heather Holter ! I have worked with many college students who identify as trans and non-binary. You're right; they need support- from their families and communities. Great advice for parents during what I'm sure is a confusing time. I'm sending love to you and your magical child.

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